Let the sunshine in

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Good news: the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors has agreed to follow the law.

The board has agreed to take minutes during all future budget work sessions following concerns from residents as to the accuracy and lack of meeting minutes.

Charlotte Court House resident Terry Ramsey said during an April board meeting that the “Code of Virginia Section 2.2-3707.1 requires written minutes of all board of supervisors open meetings. I ask the board to comply with law and prepare minutes for all open meetings.”

He said minutes were missing for several meetings, including budget work sessions held Feb. 21, March 14, March 22 and April 3.

I shouldn’t need to commend supervisors for realigning themselves to follow the law and for greater transparency.

Not having meeting minutes does more than take knowledge from county residents who seek to know the details of each meeting, but it allows for corruption to breed in the dark.

I echo what Wylliesburg resident Kay Pierantoni asked during the May board meeting.

“Why have you chosen to ignore the law? Why wouldn’t you want the public to be aware of how you propose to spend tax dollars?”

Now that these minutes are going to be made available, facts can keep residents from mere assumption, giving the board of supervisors a leg to stand on if a false accusation is thrown its way.

Virginia Freedom of Information Act Advisory Council Senior Attorney Alan Gernhardt said meeting that requirements for minutes are outlined in the Code of Virginia, which states minutes should be recorded at all open meetings.

The more open government is, the better off its residents are.

Morgan White is a staff writer for The Charlotte Gazette. His email address is Morgan.White@TheCharlotteGazette.com.